Shane Jones says he won't be 'cowed by people' who disagree with his views on immigration

NZ First MP Shane Jones is defending his stance on immigration, despite backlash following his comments about the Indian community in New Zealand.

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The NZ First MP was questioned by TVNZ1’s Breakfast host John Campbell. Source: Breakfast

Mr Jones earlier told RNZ about Indians: "You have no legitimate expectations in my view to bring your whole village to New Zealand, and if you don't like it and you're threatening to go home, then catch the next flight home."

Mr Jones told TVNZ1's Breakfast host John Campbell today he didn't mean to personally offend, and that he was "going to wear it [the backlash] on the chin".

Shane Jones defends stance on immigration despite backlash over Indian comments

"Look, I accept I have offended some elements of our immigrant community," he said.

"I'll be very clear with Kiwis, I'm going to go forward because I am not happy that the population should continue to grow through unfettered immigration at the pace at which it's grown.

"John, I say to you, I am not going to be cowed by people who feel characters like me should not have a view about the role of immigration and the size of our population. You're not going to shut me up." 

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The Prime Minister was asked about the NZ First MP’s comments towards Indians while attending the East Asia Summit. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Jones also added that his comments came after "they attacked our party".

"I'm just a very feisty, vigorous politician. These guys started a row with my leader and the party, and I think Kiwis know what I'm like - if you start a row, you pick a fight with New Zealand First, we're not going to roll over on some collective sense of post-colonial white guilt, that's just never going to happen with me."

Also joining Breakfast, National's Paula Bennett weighed in saying Mr Jones' comments didn't help the debate about immigration issues in New Zealand, and that it should be able to be had "without putting others down or making them feel like they are lesser Kiwis or of lesser value".

"Shane, yourself is a nice, beautiful blend of Dalmatian and Māori and I bet there's a bit of Pakeha in there from somewhere else as well like most of us," she said.

"It is about respect and understanding. The part of, I think, of the uniqueness and beauty of New Zealand is that we are made up of multicultures and different backgrounds and that we kind of respect that in some way."

Mr Jones nodded in agreement of her statements, however when asked where the party was headed, he said that population policies had been abandoned by other parties "and it gets abandoned because people fear that they'll be tainted or stigmatised or demonised for having strong views about population".

While he admitted he had been told to tame down his rhetoric by senior Labour MPs, Mr Jones promised a population plan would be something he'd continue to push for.

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The National Party leader said Shane Jones needs to reflect on the comment he made telling immigrants to catch a flight home if they didn’t like the country’s immigration policies.